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Which DIY Pest Controls Work – and Which Definitely Don’t

Before you ask for help from a professional pest control company, there are plenty of DIY methods you can try to deter pests and deal with minor infestations.

But wherever there’s a market of scared people, there are businesses willing to exploit that fear to sell products that don’t work.

Here are a few of our favourite DIY pest control methods that we’re happy to recommend to our clients, and a few methods that are popular but do nothing at all.

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Food containers and pet food bins work

Rats, mice and various insect won’t infest your home if they can’t find a reliable source of food. A simple and effective way to reduce your risk of infestation is to store food – including pet food – in gnaw-proof containers.

This may seem like common sense, and it is, but good food storage habits can be hard to keep up. Though it can take a lot of effort, it’s more than worth the initial investment and work organising your kitchen and pantry, both for peace of mind and money saved in the long term.

Countless times in pest control jobs, we’ve shown up in a home where the family has no idea why the have mice, only for us to find a bag of dog food left in a cupboard with a hole gnawed through the back of it.

Mouse traps work, with a bit of patience

Many people buy packs of mouse traps and become frustrated when they check them in the morning to find them empty, sometimes for days at a time.

But you need to be patient when laying traps as mice are cautious creatures. We leave traps and poison bait stations for a week or more between site visits before deciding if we should relocate them.

You also need to think like a mouse to trap a mice. Lay traps along routes mice are likely to take, which they may give away with droppings or smearing. Placing traps along the edges of walls, kitchen units or appliances is a safe bet as mice will rarely run out into the open.

DIY trapping will only be effective at eliminating an infestation if the mice have not established a large population. Big families of mice will be able to breed more rapidly than the rate you’re likely to be able to trap them, at which point you need professional intervention.

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    Rat traps follow similar principles, though we never recommend DIY rat control. If there are rats in your home, it should always be treated as an emergency and not something you should try to tackle yourself.

    If you’ve sighted a rat in your home, call us now or request your call back for emergency rat response.

    Mouse poisons work, but probably not the ones you can buy

    Our customers are even more frustrated with mouse poisons than mouse traps. An empty trap is one thing, seeing poison which has clearly been eaten with no results is even worse.

    The dose of poison in shop-bought mouse poisons often isn’t high enough to kill the mouse. Mice nibble at their food, allowing them to ingest small doses of poison safely, and they can even gradually build up immunity to the poison. After that point, all you’re doing is feeding them and exacerbating your problem!

    As professional pest controllers, we’re licensed to handle poisons which the public can’t buy. We also get them at lower prices than you will be able to, which adds up when you bear in mind that it takes 7-10 bait stations for an effective treatment.

    Expanding foam and wire wool don’t work

    If you discover mouse holes in your home, your first instinct might be to go to the local DIY store and pick up some expanding foam. Unfortunately, mice can easily chew straight through expanding foam, putting you right back where you started.

    Another bizarre DIY method we’ve come across is people filling mouse holes with wire wool. Again, mice can chew through wire wall, but, even worse, wire wall is highly flammable – as I know from my camping trips!

    Gnaw-proof fillers work

    Instead of wasting your time with expanding foam, wire wool or other fillers, you should fill in mouse holes with specialist gnaw-proof filler. These are available online and will plug up any mouse holes you find far better than the methods above.

    However, to be able to fill mouse holes, first you need to be able to find them. If you’re lucky they’ll be in plain sight, but they’re often behind appliances or beneath kitchen units which you’ll probably need help to access.

    Our pest controllers can pinpoint the exact location mice are entering your home, while our skilled tradespeople in Environ Property Services can make sure that no matter what works are required to mouse-proof your home, it will look as good as new afterwards.

    Clothes moth pheromone traps don’t work

    This one’s a mixed bag. Technically, clothes moth pheromone traps do work, in that they do attract clothes moths, which are killed by becoming trapped on their sticky surface.

    However, if you’re buying pheromone traps to get rid of your clothes moth infestation, it won’t do anything to help.

    This is because clothes moth larvae, not the adults, are the ones that eat your clothes. By the time they’re adults, it’s too late to stop the damage.

    Most clothes moths aren’t flying around either, preferring to stay in the dark, undisturbed recesses of your home. You’ll also only be attracting adult males, so while you’ll reduce the breeding population slightly, there’ll still be plenty left to keep the infestation going.

    Pheromone traps are useful for alerting you to an infestation and diagnosing its extent. Keeping a few pheromone traps around your house and checking them regularly will give you an early warning so that you can book professional extermination before it gets out of hand.

    Ultrasonic mouse and rat repellers don’t work

    Perhaps the biggest scam in DIY pest control are ultrasonic mouse repellers. These devices plug into your mains and promise to deter mouse by emitting sounds which rodents find uncomfortable, beyond a frequency that we can pick up.

    If this device worked, it would be a dream come true. No one would ever have to deal with mice or rats again, saving homeowners and restaurants millions of pounds a year.

    Unfortunately, all they’ll do is add a bit to your electricity bill. If rodents are irritated by these devices, it’s clearly not enough to stop them coming into our homes and businesses to chew on our skirting boards and steal our food.

    We’ve even captured footage during our CCTV surveys of mice crawling ALL OVER an ultrasonic rodent repeller!

    Environ Pest Control works – and keeps working

    Are you frustrated at throwing time and money at your pest problem with no progress? It’s time to call Environ. Our BPCA-certified pest experts won’t just exterminate pests from your home, they’ll proof your home so they won’t come back.

    We’re so confident in our methods that we offer a guarantee with our pest control jobs, and will provide you with detailed instructions for how to prevent infestation recurring.

    Call our friendly customer service now or request your call back to get your quote.

    What can I do to prevent pests?

    1. Invest in airtight food containers and pet food bins. Poorly stored food is by far the most common cause of pests that we find in homes.
    2. Mouse traps and poisons are effective but you need to use a lot to fully exterminate an infestation. It’s often cheaper just to hire a professional.
    3. If you’re sealing holes or gaps in your home, use a gnaw-proof filler. Normal filler, expanding foam or wire wool won’t keep rodents out.
    4. Never use rat poison: a rat corpse in your wall or floor will cause just as many problems for you as a live rat.
    5. Don’t bother with pheromone traps, ultrasonic repellents or various rodent repellent sprays – all they’ll get rid of is your time and money!
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